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Sacred Places Of Nature

June 1, 2008

Sacred Places Present: Nature Here and Now

sacred present

When people think of “sacred places” in nature, though, I fear they
most often think that these are also “wild places” exclusively. They
believe that nature’s true majesty is found in the places where the
human footprints are well buried beneath leaves or worn away by the
winds of time.

Like surely all environmentalists, I believe that we need to
continue protecting the most inspiring, intimidating, and “wild” places
in nature. Of course!

But we also need to focus just as much, if not
more, on those sacred places whose “wildness” or “naturalness” is not
prominent, pristine, or necessarily imperiled. We need to recognize and
cherish, to sanctify, all those sacred places in our present lives where nature sneaks in and infuses in us the wild woolly wonder of Nature.

Nature is everywhere: from a lone tree in a highway
median to a flowerpot on your windowsill. Just put up a bird feeder,
one of the ones you can stick to your window, and even an apartment in
the middle of a megalopolis can become a “wild” place. Or plant a few
irises; those little beauties are awe inspiring in their divine,
delicate sublimity. Or go out and do some weeding in your flowerbeds,
preferably without gloves; what you wash out from under your
fingernails and scrub off the knees of your pants consists of nearly
the same stuff lying under the leaves in the middle of a faraway
forest. Or plant a sunflower seed in a cup of soil, water it, set it in
the sunlight, and voila: the cosmic mystery of the life-force unfolds before your eyes, revealing the wonder of a seed.

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